Apple's top rival, Samsung, was likely the worst offender according to AdAge. The South Korean etch giant bought a number of well-timed banners and other ads on the pages of The New York Times, Business Insider, Bloomberg, and The Verge.
The overall impact, website visitors that were curious about the iPhone 5c and its higher-end sibling, the iPhone 5s, got their news with a healthy dose of counterprogramming touting the Galaxy S4. Vertical and horizontal bands touted "The Next Big Thing" even as readers checked out Apple's newest big news event.
In the case of Business Insider, that publication's The Hive widget continually updated with new iPhone news, but the updates ran under a design that morphed part of the page into a Galaxy S4. "Sponsored by Samsung Galaxy S4," the text above the Apple news read.
Big ad spending for Samsung is par for the course, as the tech giant actually managed to outspend Apple on phone ads in 2012. Samsung spent $401 million touting its mobile phones in 2012, while Apple spent $333 million in the same period. That ad spending, though, has over time helped Samsung go from being an also-ran in the Android manufacturing space to ? along with Apple ? one of the only two companies making any profit in the smartphone segment.
In addition to Samsung, other Apple competitors took the time to step up their brand efforts while Apple was showing off its bestselling device. LG ran ads on Ars Technica's iPhone live blog aimed at increasing mindshare for its G2 smartphone. Motorola also got in on the action, boosting the Moto X's customizability, which outstrips the color possibilities of the iPhone 5c by far.
Both Microsoft and its future subsidiary, Nokia took to the web to poke fun at Apple's new line of colors. Nokia's Lumia handsets have long relied on a high-quality polycarbonate shell of the sort seen in the iPhone 5c, and the two devices come in a similar range of color options. A tweet from Nokia UK reiterated this point, saying that Apple's "imitation is the best form of flattery."
Microsoft's Windows Phone Twitter account thought it time to show the differences between Nokia's Lumia 1020 and the new iPhones. That tweet shows off the 1020's 41MP camera, 4.5-inch screen, and the Live Tiles feature built into Windows Phone 8.